I'm trying to translate this famous quote from Churchill

Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

In order to do that I want to gain a better understanding of what he really means, so that I can translate it properly. It's hard because it's very deep, here is the video, I've listened to it like 100 times, it never gets repetitive it's like a poem.

So I have some questions here

1- Is "giving in" the same thing as "giving up?", what's the difference?

When you stop fighting in a war, are you giving in, or giving up? Is it in this context the same thing as surrendering?

2- What does "Never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense" exactly mean?

Does it mean only give in when your honor is preserved, or for a good cause? If you wanted to say the same thing with different wording, what would it be?

  • He meant Under no circumstances submit to forced coercion. Only concede where that seems to be the honourable and/or sensible thing to do. Of course, some people will think that handing over all your money to a mugger with a gun is "sensible", even though you've been forced into doing so for fear of getting shot. Jun 8, 2012 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


The difference between give in and give up is subtle. To give up is to forfeit, lose, or acquiesce, like letting a ball fall from your hands. To give in is to yield or submit to pressure, like a paper cup crumpling when you squeeze it. Giving up is more like something that you do, while giving in is more like allowing something to happen to you. In most situations, they’re freely interchangeable.

The whole phrase is saying that you should only yield to pressure when either your sense of honour, or your sense of reason, says that you should. You should not give in—and thus compromise your honour or reason—under pressure from your enemies.

  • +1, Fine answer; good explanation of the distinction between give up and give in.
    – JLG
    Jun 8, 2012 at 2:49
  • 1
    I'm not convinced this is a good explanation of the distinction. Semantically I think they're usually (if not always) identical unless there's an "object" involved. In which case "give up" can be used transitively without any supporting prepositions (the object is the thing conceded). Whereas give in requires a preposition (give in to pressure), and the object is the causative agent. Jun 8, 2012 at 15:52

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